Freddie Freeman did it again. Atlanta’s first baseman, who started the night 142 for 434 (.327/.400/.541) in his career against Washington, with 37 doubles and 18 homers in 121 games and 498 plate appearances against the Nationals, doubled in the seventh with a runner on first in what was a 2-2 game, hustling to second base to beat a throw in from Bryce Harper that short-hopped Trea Turner and bounced away.
Ozzie Albies scored all the way from first base, taking the extra 90 feet on the throwing error for the go-ahead run in what ended up a 4-2 win for the home team in the opener against the Nationals in SunTrust Park.
Tanner Roark gave up seven hits, five walks, and four earned runs in 6 2⁄3 IP, and Braves’ lefty Sean Newcomb went seven strong, holding the Nationals to two runs on four hits.
Roark vs Braves: Tanner Roark was winless in four May starts heading into tonight’s series opener in SunTrust Park, over which the 31-year-old righty was (0-2) with a 2.63 ERA, six walks, 26 Ks, and a .204/.262/.306 line against in 27 1⁄3 innings.
Roark held the Marlins to a run on four hits in a seven-inning, 111-pitch outing in Miami the last time his turn in the rotation came around before facing the Braves for the second time this season tonight.
He held the Nats’ NL East rivals to a run on four hits in his 2018 debut back on April 2nd in Atlanta.
In his second start of the season in the Braves’ home, Roark took the mound with a 1-0 lead courtesy of an Anthony Rendon sac fly RBI and tossed a scoreless first, but a leadoff double by Nick Markakis, a walk to Tyler Flowers, and a one-out RBI double by Preston Tucker, who lined a first-pitch change to right field, tied things up at 1-1 in the bottom of the second.
Roark walked Dansby Swanson intentionally to load’em up and get to the opposing pitcher, Sean Newcomb, who sent a weak grounder to short, but avoided a double play as another run came in, 2-1 Braves after two.
Ozzie Albies “singled” to start the Braves’ third, after the Nationals tied it up in the top of the inning, reaching on a pop to left that Juan Soto (who was playing deep) and Trea Turner converged on but let drop.
The speedy Atlanta infielder scored from first on a Freddie Freeman double in the next at bat when Bryce Harper’s throw in to second got away from Turner, 3-2. E:9.
Roark held it there through six innings, and was efficient, with just 81 pitches total when he went back out for the seventh and gave up back-to-back, two-out hits, a single by Inciarte, and a double to right by Ozzie Albies that stopped (or got stuck) at the bottom of the right field fence, 4-2 Braves.
Tanner Roark’s Line: 6.2 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 5 BB, 3 Ks, 98 P, 53 S, 9/2 GO/FO.
Newcomb vs the Nationals: Sean Newcomb threw 11 of his first 14 pitches tonight for balls, or just three of his first for 14 for strikes, walking both Trea Turner and Bryce Harper in back-to-back at bats to start the game. Turner and Harper pulled off a double steal with Anthony Rendon at the plate in the third at bat, and Rendon hit a sac fly to left field to bring Turner in for a 1-0 lead early in the series opener in Atlanta.
Newcomb took the mound tonight unbeaten in his last nine starts with a (5-0) record over that stretch, which went back to his first outing of the season ... against the Nationals.
In a sustained stretch of success since he last went up against Washington, the 24-year-old, 2014 1st Round pick (15th overall) put up a 2.10 ERA, 24 walks, 56 Ks, and a .200/.290/.281 line against in 51 1⁄3 IP.
Newcomb held the Nationals to the one run in what ended up a 22-pitch, 10-strike opening frame.
Turner singled to start the top of the third, stole second, took third on a groundout, and scored on an RBI single by Anthony Rendon to tie it up at 2-2, but the Braves went up by one in the bottom of the third inning.
Newcomb retired nine of the next ten batters, working around a leadoff double by Rendon in the sixth, and set the Nationals down in order in the seventh to preserve the lead, 3-2.
Sean Newcomb’s Line: 7.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 2 Ks, 93 P, 61 S, 12/2 GO/FO.
Turner Streaking: Trea Turner walked in his first at bat tonight, leading off the series opener in Atlanta, and after moving up on a walk to Bryce Harper, stole third base on a double steal.
The walk was the 24-year-old shortstop’s 30th of 2018, tying his previous season high, set last season over 447 plate appearances. He got to 30 this season in his 248th PA.
The stolen base was Turner’s 15th in 56 games, three shy of Braves’ center fielder Ender Inciarte’s NL-leading 18 stolen bases.
A sac fly by Anthony Rendon brought Turner in for the Nationals’ first run of the game, 1-0 in the first.
In his second trip to the plate, Turner singled to center on a 1-2 changeup from Braves’ lefty Sean Newcomb, extending a hit streak that stretched back 12 games over which he was 15 for 51 after the hit. He scored the Nats’ second run of the game on an RBI single by Rendon, tying it up at 2-2 in the third.
BULLPEN ACTION: Tim Collins took over for Tanner Roark with runners on second and third with two out in the seventh, and walked Nick Markakis to load’em up.
Davey Martinez went to the pen again for Wander Suero, who got Tyler Flowers looking with a 2-2 cutter to end the threat. 4-2 ATL.
Dan Winkler retired the Nationals in order in the eighth, striking out two, and after Suero got through a clean bottom of the eighth to keep it a two-run game.
Arodys Vizcaino got the ninth for the Braves, and worked around a two-out double to left by Michael A. Taylor to end it.
Final Score: 4-2 Braves
Nationals now 32-23